Russia’s Olympic team has been blocked from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The country’s government officials are forbidden to attend, its flag will not be displayed at the opening commemoration and its anthem will not sound.
Any athletes from Russia who receive special disbursement to compete will do so as individuals wearing a neutral uniform, and the official record books will forever show that Russia won zero medals.
That was the punishment issued Tuesday to the proud sports juggernaut that has long used the Olympics as a display of global force but was exposed for efficient doping in previously immeasurable ways.
The International Olympic Committee, after completing its own prolonged investigations that reiterated what had been known for more than a year, handed Russia penalties for doping so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history.
The ruling was the final acceptance that the nation was guilty of executing an extensive state-backed doping program. The scheme was rivaled perhaps only by the notorious program conducted by East Germany throughout the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.